TIME TO AWAKE THE “SLEEPING GIANT”

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More than 27 million Hispanics were  eligible to vote this year, making Latinos the key “swing vote” in many local elections.

Unfortunately, voter turnout among Hispanics has been historically low. According to the prestigious Pew Research Center, only 48 percent of eligible Hispanics voted in the 2012 presidential election.

Hispanics have often been called a “sleeping giant” for their potential to influence national and local elections. They now account for 12 percent of all eligible voters, about the same as African-Americans.

The key difference between the Hispanic and African-American base of eligible voters is that Latinos are not a monolithic bloc, while black voters are overwhelmingly Democrats. While most Hispanics tend to vote along Democrat party lines, there is significant support for Republicans in some state and local elections.

That’s a good thing, because it encourages both Democrats and Republicans to compete for their support.  The Democratic Party has often been accused of taking black voters for granted, and only seeking their support during elections.

 

Competition between the political parties clearly benefits the Hispanic community. While immigration issues are important, a recent Pell survey found that 54 percent of eligible Hispanic voters stared that this one issue was not a “deal-breaker.” In other words,  Hispanics who were born in the United States or lived in the country for many years have many other issues — especially jobs, housing, education and health — that are just as important, or more important than immigration policies.

I especially urge all eligible readers to go out and vote this Nov.  x, and to bring family and friends to the polling stations.  (But please make sure you are a U.S. Citizen, because any false claim to U.S. Citizenship will permanently disqualify anyone from obtaining permanent legal status in the United States.)

Your vote, and the votes of your family and friends, CAN make a difference. It’s time for the  “sleeping giant” to wake up.

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